Dear Miss Snark: Given how generous you have been with your advice, I hate to bother you with this, but I'm not sure how to approach it.
I have been offered representation by a reputable agency with a very well-liked agent. She emailed the contract to me to look over.
I have a file of things to look for in contracts. Most of it seemed fine. However, I remember your irritation with contracts that expect reimbursement of expenses.
This contract includes the following:
In addition to the aforementioned commissions, Agency shall be reimbursed for the expenses incurred on behalf of the Work (not to exceed a total of $150.00 without the written permission of the Author), including photocopying, messenger, cables, and overseas postage in connection with submission for sales both foreign and domestic, long-distance phone calls, copies of the published book when purchased by Agency for subsidiary rights submissions, and other similar and related charges.
Agency shall bill Author periodically for such expenses, or deduct same from funds received by Agency for the Author's account.
I have no problem asking her about this, but am not sure if this is standard boilerplate language since she said this was a standard contract.
Would you mind giving me your thoughts on this?
The missing clause is "after your work is sold and funds received".
Here's my clause on expenses:
The Snark Agency will bill you for postage, copying and other costs specifically related to the sale of the represented works. This cost will not exceed $300 without your consent. You will not be billed until your work is sold and payment received.
See the difference?
If they don't sell the work, do they expect you to pay expenses?
That's not ok.